It was one of those very rare mornings....I had made it to Mass with all my littles (it was Ash Wednesday, I believe)...I have rarely in my motherhood career, been able to navigate all the kids out of bed, into clothes and out the door to Mass by 8:30 am on a week-day morning...It has happened some, but not often. :( I am now able to finally achieve my goal of daily Mass once (sometimes twice!) a week now that the baby is FOUR. ;)
Anyway, I digress...I was sitting in the very back of our very large parish sanctuary and our jolly (yes, like St. Nick) pastor was speaking to the little ones (it was a school Mass) about offering your day to the Holy Family first thing! My ears pricked...this sounded important...I hoped my oldest (5 at the time) was listening...
Father began, "When I was a little lad, the nuns taught all us children to say a morning offering. They wanted to be sure that we remembered it, so they made it into a little song. It goes like this (to the the tune of Immaculate Mary).
In the morning when I wake up,
With a cross I sign myself ,
Singing, Jesus, Mary, Joseph,
All I do,
I do for you!
Father continued, "Do you like the song?" (Cheers of yes! echoed throughout the church)..."Well, good. I want you to practice with me...let's try it now. Be sure and make the sign of the cross when you sing the second line."
So, the homily continued with the kids learning their morning offering and doing a bang-up job. I sang along as did my two oldest. This was one of those crucial moments when you just feel so grateful to God for the truth and beauty of our Catholic faith. My kids felt it, too. They loved this little song, the melody, making the sign of the cross, all of it. Father ended his homily by gently reminding, " I've taught lots of children this morning offering song and I have prayed it for a very long time. I wanted to share it with you because it's very important to start your day by giving it to God. Never forget to begin your day with your morning offering...this way Jesus, Mary and Joseph will always be at your side to help you and your day is made holy."
We went home that morning and practiced our new offering in the car and right away began singing our morning offering each day.
Fast forward about 11 years...here I sit having sent off my oldest (now just turned 16) to Christendom College for a week of fun and fellowship with other Catholic kids. I am weepy and miss her already (she has been gone 20 minutes!). As I knelt in front of the crucifix and sent my guardian angel to help hers care for her today, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this memory, I sang my offering, I felt the peace of giving my day to God.
Our family has grown (four more children we have here on earth, six more in heaven), but we still sing this offering song each morning once we are all relatively awake...to be truthful, on most mornings, it is my first prayer, offered before the kids are even awake...a bit simple? Yes, but it reminds me that everything I do throughout the day, I can sanctify. My job is holy because I offer it as a loving gift to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. All I do, I do for them.
Simple, little, prayerful. It's enough.
It's all joy!